Author Topic: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice  (Read 2642 times)

Offline Joegel

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Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« on: July 03, 2014, 12:37:57 AM »
Hi DDF's,

It is now a few months that I've been reading this blog. I thank you Dan and all DDF's for your input.  it is truly appreciative.

One of the main reasons i started following this blog was because my wife and I decided to plan an extensive Europe trip to celebrate our 10th anniversary!

My uncle played an integral roll in my planning. He visited many interesting destinations, but more importantly, this blog was a tremendous help. I was able to verify what my uncle suggested and stay informed of how to get best value for my points/miles.

I didn't think of writing, but now that we're almost leaving and everything is BH perfectly planed, I feel i should share it with the DDFs.
A: people will enjoy to read a major trip itinerary. And  B: people will learn how to maximize using their points & make possible such a luxury dream itinerary as ours, relatively inexpensive.

So first off I have all my destinations & itineraries on a app called travel organizer.

It's a lot of manual work but I happen to like the clarity and the display.

My starting Points/Miles inventory
350K SPG
240K Amex
60K UR

I was hoping to use 200k Amex for business-class tickets and SPG for hotels.

And here's how I used it. There was a business class deal to Europe at $1500 back in April
http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/42889
I right away booked 3 itineraries for the few possible dates (since you can cancel until the following day 11:30PM) we made our decision within that time period and canceled the other two itineraries. I sold 200k Amex at 1.5 and asked the points agent to mail me a check made out to American Express!
A. We're flying business with at 200K Amex,
B. No additional fuel/tax charges.
C. I'm getting additional flying miles :) &
D. I got double Amex miles cus I purchased it with my Amex gold!
I must add though, that it was quite difficult to find a multi city itinerary. The two cities on special were VCE & NCE. I searched until i finally booked a 2 week itinerary, origin from  JFK-NCE (w/ stop in ZRH) and returning from VCE-JFK (w/ stop in FRA)

JFK-ZRH SWISS - A330 has an excellent business class.
FRA-JFK LH - 747-400 (upper deck - although seatguru and the like claim upstairs is first..) (it's not worthwhile to mention the local European business class)

The 60K UR I used for 2 legs (15k per person per leg) and 1 leg i booked with smart wings, a low cost airline.

One of the important factors for us when choosing vacation destinations is kosher food. 

Ok since my itinerary is to Nice, we might as well enjoy the kosher food and the magnificent Monaco palace etc.
We will then be arriving in NCE Monday 2pm we're checking into the La Meridain using 30K SPG. We booked their magnificent Jr Suite Room.

Tuesday we'll be taking the TGV at 3:34PM to Paris, arriving 9:30PM. We'll go straight to the W Oprah at 35k SPG per night. We'll be staying in Paris 3 nights total. 2 nights in W Oprah & 1 night in the Prince De Galles Also at 35k SPG per night- all cat 7. (Hyatt was fully booked)

I want to thank one of the DDF's that mentioned that some of the Bais Din hechsher restaurants carry Glatt as well. I did some research and the O'You restaurant which is one of the top Paris kosher restaurants is one of them. I spoke to the Mashgiach and made reservations :)
We booked a no line Eiffel Tower ticket etc...

Friday we're taking a AM Flight to Prague for Shabbos - SmartWings $150 each.

Shabbos we're staying in the Kind David in the Jewish Quarter. It's kosher for the summer months. 210 euro for 2 nights incl breakfast. Shabbos meals we reserved at the King Solomon. We reserved the delux package at $100 per person for both meals.

Sunday AM we're taking Swiss flight at 15K UR points pp to ZRH. We'll take the train up to Arosa to the Lavine Kosher Hotel. We booked their nicest suite renovated last year at $400 per night, price includes breakfast & dinner. (I know it's expensive.. There's no cheap kosher options in Swiss) We'll be staying there 3 nights.

Wednesday eve we're off to Venice with Swiss 15k UR pp. We'll be 2 nights in Hotel Danieli and 2 nights in The Gritti Palace over Shabbos. Both are cat 7 at 35k SPG per night. Shabbos meals we reserved at GamGam. Besides their free open Shabbos table, they now offer at their terrace a more private Shabbos meal setting at 75 pp for all 3 meals.
I know the Gritti is a 25 minutes walk from GamGam, but since the close by hotels are at $600 per night, I'm not interested in spending that kind of $, especially that we're sleeping in a $1300 room at 35k SPG.

Sunday 2PM we're leaving VCE connecting in FRA with LH business to JFK.

I hope you enjoy this read as much as we do. Your feedback with any suggestions will be appreciated!
I will iy'h write when we return.
Best of luck to all,
Joe
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 12:50:03 AM by Joegel »

Offline TimT

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 12:51:33 AM »
Make sure to have a great time. Do a nice TR with some nice pics. What are you doing with that third party check made out to American Express ?

Offline Centurion

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2014, 12:53:55 AM »
I WILL BE IN ZURICH/ ST MORITZ
does it pay to rent a car or public transport?
any ideas on cost of gas/ parking?
you can only make a first impression ONCE

Offline MosheP

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2014, 01:16:03 AM »
OP which Shabbos will you be in Prague?

Offline sillypainter

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2014, 01:28:55 AM »
I WILL BE IN ZURICH/ ST MORITZ
does it pay to rent a car or public transport?
any ideas on cost of gas/ parking?

Nowhere is public transportation as easy, efficient and cost effective as Switzerland. Renting a car is a waste of money. Everything there is VERY expensive.

Thee are various plans to buy for public transportation e.g. half tax charges you half price on all modes of transportation. Over there buses, trains, boats and even most chair lifts work under one umbrella.

Offline SRM

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2014, 07:52:07 AM »
Thanks for the information. I also booked a trip to Europe with the business class deal and will be going to Venice (via Zurich), Nice and Paris in August. I look forward to hearing about the details of your trip...When are you going and returning?

Offline Centurion

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2014, 08:22:25 AM »
Nowhere is public transportation as easy, efficient and cost effective as Switzerland. Renting a car is a waste of money. Everything there is VERY expensive.

Thee are various plans to buy for public transportation e.g. half tax charges you half price on all modes of transportation. Over there buses, trains, boats and even most chair lifts work under one umbrella.
link?
where to buy train tickets etc?
where can i get CHF in NY/NJ?
do i need any local currency?
do cabs (local in st moritz) accept credit cards?
thanx for the info!
you can only make a first impression ONCE

Offline Joegel

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2014, 10:01:00 AM »
Make sure to have a great time. Do a nice TR with some nice pics. What are you doing with that third party check made out to American Express ?
I mailed the check directly to Amex with the next bill.

Offline Joegel

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2014, 10:01:52 AM »
OP which Shabbos will you be in Prague?
Shabbos July 12

Offline Joegel

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2014, 10:02:37 AM »
Thanks for the information. I also booked a trip to Europe with the business class deal and will be going to Venice (via Zurich), Nice and Paris in August. I look forward to hearing about the details of your trip...When are you going and returning?
July 6-20. Enjoy your trip!

Offline TimT

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Re: Europe trip - Nice, Paris, Prague, Swiss & Venice
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2014, 11:37:12 AM »
I mailed the check directly to Amex with the next bill.
You're paying your Amex bill with a check from the broker ?